Oct 13, 2007 2:06am
another big anniversary coming around
On October 22nd, 1967, the Winterland arena was filled once again, this time for the Marijuana Defense Benefit. Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother & Holding Company and The Grateful Dead were on the bill. The crowd fell silent as the lights dimmed and The Grateful Dead took the stage.
Rising out of the silence – in mono for all but the last minute of the song, Garcia brings out the opening riff of Morning Dew. The band falls behind him, with Pig contributing some solid low-lying organ. Jerry voice is young & fresh, and he plays a bit with the words, “no you didn’t, no, no, no you didn’t.” He solos brilliantly and Pig adds more organ twilling and twisting around Jerry’s notes. The song builds to a climax – again helped in a large part by Pig’s spiraling organ riffs and ends in a bit of feedback.
Bobby offers up New Potato Caboose, which lets Jerry step back form the mic and concentrate on chords, although Pig still contributes with his organ. Phil leads the band through a powerfully building solo with his solid bass keeping the foundation strong and pushing the beat along.
Then the blues burst alive on stage for a powerful version of Hurts Me Too, IMHO – the finest version of this classic ever caught on tape. No one can dare accuse the Dead of not being a blues band under in psychedelic lights after this one. Pig steps off the organ and brings out his harmonica for a solo that cuts through the music and taps into the center of your brain. Jerry leads from there, and Pig once again coats everything with his fat brush of Hammond organ. The end comes quickly, a little over 4 minutes, and leaves you wanting more.
The up tempo Cold Rain & Snow follows and ends a quickly. Although in later years the band would slow this tune down, this one is quick 60s pop. One can almost imagine the girl in the white boots in the cage bopping along.
At this point, Jerry informs the audience they’re gonna “Sing a little song.” Phil responds with “Thank you Jerry!” Billy & Mickey quietly begin the beat and Jerry strums the riff opening Lovelight. The rest of the band falls into place and Pig grabs the mic. Phil makes his awesome presence known, with a solid bass line, which helps Jerry soar through the solo. The band swings along, making it all but impossible to keep you feet still. The song chugs along, thanks to the drummer’s hypnotic beat. The song drops to almost a whisper then slowly begins to rise and Jerry picks out some interesting licks – only to be cut off by a disastrous tape end!
The tape resumes with a twelve beat intro into Beat It Down The Line. Bobby’s vocals are left then perfect on this one, and it’s over almost as quickly as it began, less than three minutes long.
Saving the best for last, the boys strum the opening notes of Crypictal Envelopment, and Jerry begins to sing what is the first live performance of this song. When they reach the stanza, Pig’s organ spirals around Jerry’s voice. Then, in what will become in years later a signature Grateful Dead jam Jerry crunches out some major chords and Pig slams the keys down hard. Billy & Mickey step up the beat and Phil’s bass roars. The Other One debuts and one must wonder what they crowd that night was thinking of - if anyone of them knew what was evolving on stage before them. Jerry steps up for a screeching lead, echoing the hypnotic bass line then dissolves it into some fast and furious playing. Bobby steps to the mic and sings the first verse …
“When I woke up this morning my head was not attached
I asked my friends about it, try to find out where its at
[inaudible]...came up inside of me, blew the dust clouds all away
The heat came 'round & busted me for smiling on a cloudy day”
The second verse comes quickly afterwards, no in-between the verses jamming.
“Well the heat down in jail they weren't very smart
They taught me how to read & write, they taught me the precious arts
When I was breaking out of jail I learned that right away
That they didn't need me telling them about smiling first and running _?_”
The band swiftly dissolves back into the gentle rhythm of Crypictal, with Jerry getting soulful on the vocals chanting “You know he had to die, had to die, had to die.” The band jams out the song from that point, another Jerry & Pig guitar and organ fest. Jerry’s lines fly though the atmosphere, with an occasional small burst of feedbacks and a heavy hinting of the Other One riff. Jerry spirals out of control with lightning scales with then melt down and end in a small burst of feedback. The crowd cheers, the tape ends, and we are left, once again, with silence.
(- The Clock That Went Backwards)